Graham Kilmer

City Mask Mandate Ends June 1st

Following new CDC guidelines, city will allow its health order to expire.

By - May 18th, 2021 05:21 pm
Mask. Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

Mask. (Pixabay License).

Mayor Tom Barrett announced that the City of Milwaukee would allow its COVID-19 health order and mask mandate to expire on June 1st.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines stating that individuals that have been fully vaccinated can resume pre-pandemic activities without wearing a mask.

In light of this new guidance, Barrett said the city and the Health Department would allow the Moving Milwaukee Forward Safety health order to expire in June.

Last week, city officials announced they would be revising the health order to eliminate nearly all the restrictions, except for the mask mandate, on June 15th. But just a few hours later, that same day, the CDC announced their updated masking guidance.

“From the outset, I have been very, very proud and I have pledged that I would follow the science and the evidence,” Barrett said.

The mayor said the reason the order would expire June 1st, and not immediately, was so that local businesses, schools, stores and event spaces would have some time to work out their own masking requirements.

“These businesses, these establishments, they know their client base, their customer base, their user base better than anyone,” Barrett said. “And we all know that the CDC’s announcement was very much a surprise announcement.”

Barrett urged city residents to show respect for others and for businesses when it comes to masking preferences and requirements. “If a store says its patrons should wear a mask, we all need to respect that. This is about respect, it’s pretty basic stuff.”

Ben Weston, director of medical services for Milwaukee County, said, “The fact of the matter is that the science behind the guidelines change is solid.”

He said 150 million people in the U.S. have received the vaccine, and that the data from that population continues to support that all the vaccines are nearly 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Also, vaccinated people have a “low-likelihood” of transmitting the virus, even if they do become infected.

Barrett said the new guidelines from the CDC speak to the “incredible effectiveness of the vaccination.”

“So if anyone is looking for proof about the effectiveness of these vaccinations, it’s staring you right in the face and it is the reason the CDC has revamped its views,” he said

Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said for the next two weeks the department would focus less on enforcing the mask mandate with fines and more on education.

She also clarified that fully vaccinated is defined as anyone who is two weeks past their final shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, or two weeks past their single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Even with the new guidelines, Weston said it is important to consider the community at large, saying it is still appropriate to wear a mask in situations where it can’t be known whether everyone is vaccinated or not. He also noted that children under the age of 12 are still ineligible for the vaccine and should continue to wear a mask in public.

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Categories: Health, Weekly

One thought on “City Mask Mandate Ends June 1st”

  1. KrisG-K says:

    I really, really am skeptical of no masks at elementary schools…

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